K-Rail is 50-yr-old development perspective; it should’ve been sustainable development: Cong

The Kerala unit of the Congress on Tuesday said that the much hyped K-Rail or SilverLine project, the mega infrastructure project of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is not the present day development perspective as it should have been discussed 50 years back.

Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan told the media that the CPI-M has got it all wrong and they speak of K-Rail as a development perspective.

“It should have been taken up 50 years back, while across the globe any development perspective discussed today is sustainable development in the light of climate change and K-Rail is one which is going to cause havoc to Kerala’s environment and under no circumstances will the opposition allow this project to go forward,” he said.

“The entire Kerala is against this project as it will not only be an environmental disaster but a financial burden also. Public transport system should be complimentary, while K-Rail is predatory, as for this to flourish all the other modes of transport should play second fiddle,” said Satheesan.

He went on to point out that today inter operability is the buzz word, when it comes to railway development.

“K-Rail is going to be mooted in the standard gauge, which is an outdated technology and what’s most suspicious is JAICA (Japanese based Japan International Cooperation Agency) which is providing funds is deciding what technology should be adopted, which is in no way acceptable. It’s really a cause of concern as to why the Vijayan government did not go in for a global tender. We have asked numerous questions and till now no answers have been given,” added Satheesan.

He said that the detailed project report is nothing but “fudged” and the financial aspects of it besides the ridership datas have all been manipulated.

“The data on ridership jumped from 40,000 to 80,000 in a matter of two months. Likewise the Vizhinjam Port which should have been completed in 2019 is still incomplete due to non-availability of rocks (limestone),” according to Vijayan.

The port requires a 3,000 metre long seawall and till now only a quarter of it is completed and Vijayan says it’s delayed because of inadequate supply of rocks. The K-Rail project requires a construction of over 5 lakhs metres. Even if the entire Western Ghats is broken down, it would not be enough. So from where and how are rocks going to arrive for K-Rail construction.

While Satheesan emphasised that the Congress-led UDF will step up their protest, they do not intend to form a strike pact with the BJP.

“The BJP in Kerala should not waste its time protesting here, instead should prevail upon Prime Minister to see that no sanction is accorded to the project,” said Satheesan.

Meanwhile, top CPI-M central committee member E.P.Jayarajan, a former State Minister at the venue of the 23rd CPI-M Party Congress which opens at Kannur on Wednesday said there is not going to be any discussion on K-Rail at their conference.

“What K-Rail, this project has been given the clearance by the people of Kerala and hence there will be no discussion of it at the five-day party meeting,” said Jayarajan.

Now all eyes are on the Kannur meeting as the party delegates who come from outside Kerala and have opposed the upcoming Mumbai-Ahmadabad rail corridor, on what their attitude will be to K-Rail and the protests.

“Vijayan has stopped all the survey works going on in the state just because their party meeting is going on and he knows if the K-Rail officials goes around laying marking stones when the meeting is going on, it could lead to numerous issues and hence to avoid it, till the party meeting gets over, all such works have been stopped,” added Satheesan.

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